Science Week at St Mary’s Eltham
This week, we’ve been helping St Mary’s Catholic Primary in Eltham host a Science week for the students. Mrs Woodhouse from Year 4 took on the mammoth task of creating a science week from scratch. She enlisted us to help add some theatricality to the week. Check out some of their photos on twitter here.
THE SCIENCE WEEK PREMISE…
The children had several investigations to undertake during the week. These were to be done as and when the teachers had time to fit them in. The activities were also differentiated so although the topics were the same, it was accessible to different year groups. Past Productions produced some videos starring “Dr Nick Atom” (DNA for short) who enlisted the children’s help to investigate science. Each morning the children were given a video from us that introduced the topic for the day and gave them tips on things to look out for.
THE CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION…
Past Productions came up with the idea of a crime scene that the students have to solve using their science and deduction skills. Doctor Nicholas Atom, esteemed scientist from the SASS institute, has been working on a database that will hold all the information about all the known cures currently in the world. He was compiling this to share with the world, as he believes that we all have the right to be healthy individuals.
Unfortunately, one of the scientists working with the students has stolen Dr Nick’s USB with his database on it. However, he had been thinking for a while that someone would try to steal his work. The students were given 4 suspects (teacher volunteers). However, during the week they had to figure out who the suspects were. The activities included:
THE FINAL REVEAL…
On the final morning, the students were given the profile built by us of who we think it was. They then had to put their final guess on their criminal forms and submit them to see if they had the right person. We all met for a final assembly. Dr Nick appeared (to the delight of the children who thought they were just going to be watching another video of him) and announced the winners of some awards.
Afterwards, Dr Nick invited four teachers up onstage for a special experiment (these were the culprits the children had been investigating). Dr Nick then proceeded to let the students know that they had done well on their investigations, but he had laid a trap for the thief. The children had learnt in the first video about the crime that whoever had taken the USB had also taken a sip of Dr Nick’s energy drink that was on his desk. Dr Nick had laced the can with some invisible dye that left fingerprints where the culprit had taken it. It also left residue on the hands of the culprit.
Dr Nick, armed with his UV torch, went around the 4 culprits, checking their hands. Finally, he got to Mrs Whitewood, who tried to evade both hands being checked. Ultimately, she was found out and led out of the hall by the headteacher for a consequence.
The students got so into it and were outraged when they found out who the criminal was. They were howling and booing – we almost had carnage. It just shows how invested they were and outraged that someone could steal something that would
ROCKET TO THE MOON…
The students were also tasked with creating rockets at some point during the week. Friday was launch day, and our Dr Nick assisted the students with the launching of their rockets. It was a very successful endeavour and the students were laughing and whooping everytime a rocket shot off.
In the beginning we found that the rockets were not getting very much height. The students deduced that perhaps there was too much water in the bottle. We adapted the experiment, and as you can see from the results in our video here… the experiment was a great success!
FINAL THOUGHTS ON SCIENCE WEEK…
We believe that this science week has shown us how much children learn more when they are having fun. The pressure was taken off the teachers to have to evidence everything in a structured style. Finally, the children clearly demonstrated their skills at predictions, methodology, applying fair testing and adapting experiments when they go wrong. This was shown through their active investigations, and the results that they produced afterwards.